Friday, November 06, 2009

White Roman Catholic II

White on "Roman" Catholicism (continued)...

Below I have captured White's blog, which I will put into boxes and then offer my responses to what he says.

11/01/2009 - James White

In a comment left on James Swan's blog (and then removed, I might add), Frank Beckwith noted:
I use the term "Reformation" and "Reformers" even though I do not believe that there was any real Reformation for which the Reformers are morally responsible. Nevertheless, I use the terms out of respect for my Protestant brothers and sisters.
As if the Council of Trent (we won't revisit Dr. Beckwith's comments on Trent in his interview with Greg Koukl) would have done what it did without the Reformation as its background! I'm sure there were plenty of folks in Rome who wanted to keep the money spigot on "full blast" with the sale of indulgences, but that troubling German monk really messed that up. I wonder if the "reformation" of indulgences would have happened without the Reformers?


My response:
Was there abuse going on regarding the "sale" of indulgences? Yes. Was this "reformed" by the Church? Yes. So, if this were the only issue Luther had, then why did he remain outside the Church after this "reform" within the Church? The obvious answer is there was far more to it than just a complaint about indulgences. The deeper matter was political and coupled with the fact that Luther was being "used" by the German princes in stirring the Peasants War in their effort to seize Church property and, by force, make Lutheranism the "Church of State" to exercise their will, fully, in Germany. Lutheranism then spread like Communism did in the 20th century.

But again, we cannot be overly surprised at such a comment. Dr. Beckwith has returned to Rome, and we would not expect him to see the Reformation as a time when the light of the Gospel broke through the encrustations of Roman tradition.

My Response:
No, Dr. Beckwith and I would both see this time Protestants call the "Reformation" to be a time when a "different gospel" was invented and preached. It was a time when men (often princes) were dressed in sheeps clothing, but inwardly were ravenous wolves who were able to fool many, even the elect, into following these previously unheard of "gospels" of sola fide, sola scriptura, etc.


But as we have pointed out many times, it does not seem that Dr. Beckwith ever viewed Rome's gospel as non-saving and actually false.

My response:

"Rome's Gospel" is fundamentally found in John 3:16. If you believe and are baptized then you will not perish, but will have everlasting life in Christ Jesus. There's more to believing and faith than mere lip-service or a praying of the "sinners prayer." Believing is LIVING the life of FAITH. It is a faith with works which justifies - for faith alone is dead and cannot save.


He (Dr. Beckwith) continued:
What would be really something, by the way, would be finding Madrid, Hahn, Ray, et al using "Roman Catholic" in every single instance the word "Catholic" appears in their writings and blog post as well as employing "Papist" and "Romanist." Just like hip-hoppers who call each other "n**ger" once and a while, we Catholics can refer to each other as "Roman Catholic" every so often. We do it out of love for the Bishop of Rome; you do it out of condescension and derision.

You ain't me homie, you can't use "Romie." :-)
Well, there you go. The real problem is not that Rome herself does not use terms like "Roman church" all the time, as she self-evidently does. It is that Dr. Beckwith can read the hearts of others and decide that when they speak of the Roman Church they do so out of "condescension and derision." It matters not if we explain that we believe it is necessary to be specific, as long as we do not grant to Rome her own claims to represent Christ, we are precluded from using the language she herself uses. I'm glad we have gotten that straight.

My Response:
Well, one can see that the likely reason Dr. Beckwith pulled that comment was that he likely did not want to get into a discussion about "n**ger" - which, though it IS a valid comparison, can be an inflammatory one. I am not aware of fellow Catholics actually "using" the terms "Papist" and "Romanist" in some fraternal way - other than I have witnessed some friends use the terms in a satirical way or perhaps in such a manner as to embrace the insult. The fact remains that typically when non-Catholics use terms like "Romanist," "Papist" or "Romish," and even at times even just "Roman," the context exposes their, shall we say... less than charitable usage. What we see White doing through all this is rationalizing his way (and the ways of others) so they don't feel less-than-Christian in deliberately insulting Catholics.

On the same day, White also posted this to his blog:

So I was directed to a blog article written by one of the first Roman Catholics I engaged, years and years ago (late 1980s), on the subject of Rome’s claims. For many years I tried to correct Mr. Windsor’s misapprehensions and confusion, to no avail (though, in retrospect, I learned a lot myself, which may have been God’s purpose in the extended correspondence and contact).

My Response:
For many years I tried to correct White's misapprehensions and confusion, to no avail (though, in retrospect, I learned a lot myself, which was, IMHO, God's purpose in leading me to contact him and challenge myself in my new found faith). I have been able to answer to every single challenge White put before me, and have answered those challenges - White cannot say the same for he has left several challenges and exposed errors unanswered.

He continues to miss the essence of my points. He writes,

That being said, White rightly points out that our communion is with the “Bishop of Rome.” However, he wrongly states it is not with the bishop of Constantinople, Naples, London or Milwaukee - for as much as those bishops are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, we are also in communion with them!

I never said there was no communion with those bishops, of course. I said that it is not communion with those bishops that defines the teachings of the Roman church, as seen with such clarity above. You will not find any dogmatic teachings of Rome that speak of the bishop of Milwaukee in the terms seen above.

My Response:
St. Ignatius, 3rd successor to St. Peter at Antioch says it best:
You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God's commandment. Let no one do anything touching the Church, apart from the bishop. Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape (Eucharist); but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus everything you do will be proof against danger and valid.
(Source).

Who can add to that? It is the bishop who approves what the priests and deacons do, and let nothing touching the Church be apart from the bishop. Those are some pretty strong words supporting the Catholic Church and from, as I said, St. Peter's 3rd successor at Antioch who was also a direct disciple under St. John the Apostle.


Mr. Windsor goes on with a number of oft-refuted arguments in support of the papacy (anyone who has watched any of the debates we have done on the papacy over the past 15 years knows how to respond to each of these simple arguments).

My response:
Well, first a correction - it's been more than 20 years! I guess White can explain that "over the past 15 years" does not necessarily exclude the previous 5 years - only that he was focusing on the past 15 years, minor point - let's move on. Secondly, if they were so simple, why not refute them quickly again? I posit that last response was a cop-out. Further, what has White to say about the quote from St. Ignatius? Who is White's bishop? Where's the "apostolic" succession - or has White merely followed impostors who were able to fool, even the elect?

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

4 comments:

  1. Hey Scott,

    I'm not taking James White's side but I think your reply to the first quote misses what he was saying.

    For instance, you said "if this were the only issue Luther had," where James never said only. I think a better reply (and I could be wrong) would be to say that to say the Reformation would not have happened without Luther is based on what if's and maybe's and a lack of faith in Christ guiding his church.

    Your Papist friend,

    Richard

    ReplyDelete
  2. I use the term "Reformation" and "Reformers" even though I do not believe that there was any real Reformation for which the Reformers are morally responsible.

    I was very careful in what I wrote. I did not say that the Reformers did not bring to the attention of the Church abuses. I did not say that the Reformers were wrong about everything. I use the term "morally responsible" because it is a term of art referring to one's agency being the proximate cause for an effect.

    Remember, I bring to the attention of my readers Louis Bouyer (who I also cite in my book Return ot Rome), who makes the point that the Reformers were trying to retrieve something that was distinctly Catholic. See http://romereturn.blogspot.com/2009/10/louis-bouyer-on-reformation.html

    One of the difficulties in blogging on these sorts of questions is that when one is careful, like I have been, others do not reciprocate.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Richard! Ribbet!
    You said:
    > I'm not taking James White's
    > side but I think your reply to
    > the first quote misses what he
    > was saying.
    >
    > For instance, you said "if this
    > were the only issue Luther had,"
    > where James never said only. I
    > think a better reply (and I
    > could be wrong) would be to say
    > that to say the Reformation
    > would not have happened without
    > Luther is based on what if's and
    > maybe's and a lack of faith in
    > Christ guiding his church.

    sw: I understand what you're saying here. My point wasn't clear, and I appreciate the correction. I was trying to say the so-called Reformation was not merely a "reformation of indulgences" - and if it were, then why would Lutheranism remain outside the Church after indulgences WERE reformed from the inside? Luther was a pawn of the German princes struggling for political power - and they USED Luther to fuel their revolt against Church authority and to seize Church property and assets.

    > Your Papist friend,

    sw: (grin) You had to say that didn't you!

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  4. I happened upon White's blog today and skimmed through posts on Catholicism and ran across this one again. So I came back to my blog and reread my posting, which further challenges White - and (not that I was surprised in the least) there were no responses from White to these - adding to the growing list of unanswered challenges.

    I'm just sayin'

    ReplyDelete

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